Grim action-RPG Bloodborne may have both cooperative and competitive elements, but until this afternoon I'd never viewed it as a potential eSports title. That all changed upon watching the following video pitting the finalists against each other in a contest to see who could slay the most NPC hunters the quickest within the game's opening 15 minutes.
The contest was hosted by YouTuber and Souls aficionado VaatiVidya in association with Sony, who put up the prizes. First place received a glacier white PS4 and Nightmare Edition of Bloodborne, second place got a Nightmare Edition and review copy collectables, while third place received some assorted Bloodborne merchandise (including T-Shirts and a bag).
The rules were simple: Players had 15 minutes to slay as many NPC hunters as they could, starting from the game's opening. Whoever killed the most would win. If there was a tie in kill count, it would come down to whoever murdered that amount of hunters the fastest. In this case, all three finalists managed to take down five hunters, and their times for completing the challenge were very close indeed.
A few further rules: An enemy is considered a hunter if they're a named character in the story armed with both a melee weapon and gun. These NPCs are mini-bosses of sorts, though VaatiVidya clarified that Father Gascoigne counts, despite being a full boss, as he fits the rest of the criteria. VaatiVidya also stated that a kill is considered official when the player receives blood echoes for it. Dupes and glitches were not allowed.
Rather than simply upload the winning video, VaatiVidya made the inspired choice of showing the three finalists compete in a splitscreen recording of their best times, while narrating their exploits. This keeps the video tense all throughout as players gain and lose time.
Impressively, they each use different strategies. Two go for the Hunter's Axe, while the other skips the Hunter's Dream hub completely and races to a weapon found in the field. Only one player opts to snag a gun, and you'll see each of their playstyles differ radically as they tackle the same gallery of NPCs in the early game.
It's harrowing stuff and opens up an entirely new way to play Bloodborne. Here's hoping this isn't the last Bloodborne challenge we see VaatiVidya put together.